Being A Lighthouse Docent (Guide) – 8/2/15
It is always great to see the reactions of folks who come to visit the Oak Orchard Lighthouse. The younger visitors make a beeline for the ship’s ladder leading to the upper floors, wanting to go up to see out the top. Parents are usually attentive to make sure their kids don’t do anything wrong. Older folks bring their perspective and questions about how the lighthouse came to be located at the Point and what life was like for the Lighthouse Keeper. Some peek in the door and want to know if it costs anything to come in. I guess we should post a sign that says, “No Admission Charge.”
I usually start by asking where they are from. The answers range from a few miles away to one of the western or southern states or perhaps Japan or Germany. Regardless of where they come from I try to welcome them to the Lighthouse and give them a brief history of the life of the original Oak Orchard Lighthouse and Keeper(s) and tell them how our current historically accurate replica was built. I answer questions if they have any.
Then I instruct them on the proper way to climb the ship’s ladders to the top and warn them of the dangers of bumping their heads when they go through the openings if they don’t keep their heads and body close to the ladder. I remind them to be careful and to take a moment or two to look at our displays on the second floor. Only about 4 can go up at a time, as there isn’t much room in the lantern room up top. When they come down, I ask them if they would please sign our guestbook and possibly put something in the donation box. Sometimes visitors purchase lighthouse items so writing out a receipt for them and our records is important. I thank them for coming to visit and encourage them to tell their friends about our Lighthouse.
That doesn’t seem too difficult does it? Actually, it is fun once you get the hang of it. We usually ask our docents to take a two-hour shift, which is not a long time. I only wish we had more volunteers. If you think this might be something you would like to try, please give me a call (585) 682-4383. If you get the answering service, please leave a message and your phone number so I can call you back. I’m pretty sure you would find the experience rewarding.
Dick Anderson – Docent & President, Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum